HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC,
SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WEDNESDAY, 2 JULY 2014
DARFUR: U.N. SECRETARIAT TO REVIEW REPORTS OF INVESTIGATIONS AND INQUIRIES CONCERNING U.N.A.M.I.D
- The Secretary-General is concerned about the recent serious allegations against the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). These allegations cover a wide range of issues, including inaccurate reporting of the facts on the ground in Darfur, specific instances of failure to protect civilians and accusations of mismanagement of UNAMID.
- UNAMID has undergone several investigations and reviews over the last two years, which have sought to address both strategic issues and specific incidents related to the Mission's performance.
- The Secretary-General’s Special Report of 25 February 2014 provides an overview of the strategic and managerial challenges faced by the Mission and the work done at United Nations Headquarters and in UNAMID to address them.
- The Secretary-General remains committed to improving UNAMID's performance and is determined to take all necessary steps to correct any wrongdoing. He has instructed the Secretariat to review the reports of all investigations and inquiries undertaken since mid-2012 to ensure that their recommendations have been implemented and that any relevant issues have been fully addressed.
- This review, to be completed within one month, will enable the Secretary-General to determine what has already been done and, if recommendations are outstanding, what corrective action needs to be taken.
U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS MURDER OF PALESTINIAN TEENAGER
- The Secretary-General condemns the murder of a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem and calls for the perpetrators of this despicable act to be promptl brought to justice. He expresses his deepest condolences to the family of the victim.
- The Secretary-General reiterates his call on all parties to ensure that tensions do not escalate further, leading to more loss of life.
- The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, strongly condemned the reported murder of a Palestinian boy in Jerusalem. He recalled the Secretary-General’s message that there can be no justification for the deliberate killing of civilians.
- Mr. Serry said that the perpetrators of such heinous acts must be brought to justice. He repeated his call on all sides to do everything they can not to further an already tense atmosphere.
- And the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) also condemned the killing this morning.
- On Tuesday afternoon, the members of the Security Council, in a press statement, condemned in the strongest terms the killing of three teenagers, whose bodies were discovered near the city of Hebron on 30 June.
- They underlined the need to bring perpetrators of these acts to justice and encouraged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to continue working together to do so. They also urged all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation.
AFGHANISTAN: U.N. FACILITATES MEETINGS BETWEEN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
- The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) facilitated meetings between Afghanistan’s two Presidential candidates, the leading members of their teams and Ambassadors and other high-level representatives of the international community in Kabul on Tuesday.
- The meetings provided an opportunity to engage in discussions about election-related issues and the way forward.
- Also on Afghanistan, senior UN humanitarian and Government officials today travelled to Afghanistan’s south-eastern province of Khost, where tens of thousands of people from Pakistan’s North Waziristan region have sought refuge since mid-June.
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that nearly 100,000 people have fled the military operations in Pakistan to Afghanistan’s Khost and Paktika provinces. UN agencies and humanitarian partners have provided food and other emergency assistance, including vaccination against polio and measles for children.
- The agency has warned that many people are in need of food, water and sanitation support. Humanitarian organizations are expected to launch a funding appeal in the coming days.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF IS DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT SITUATION IN IRAQ, WELCOMES CONTRIBUTION FROM SAUDI ARABIA
- Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Iraq, where families urgently need assistance and children are vulnerable to outbreaks of disease and malnutrition.
- UN agencies and their humanitarian partners are doing their best to support the humanitarian response in the country despite security issues.
- Ms. Amos called the recent announcement by the Government of Saudi Arabia to contribute $500 million towards aid efforts in Iraq extremely timely and exceptionally generous. Ms. Amos said the funding will help humanitarian organizations rapidly scale-up efforts.
U.N. DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO VISIT GENEVA AND ITALY
- The Deputy Secretary-General will depart New York for Geneva this evening. While in Geneva, the Deputy Secretary-General will brief Member States tomorrow on the Secretary-General’s Rights Up Front initiative and the Post-2015 development agenda.
- He will also meet with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, as well as International Committee of the Red Cross President Peter Maurer.
- On 6 July, the Deputy Secretary-General will travel to Turin, where he will deliver the keynote address at the Torino Leadership Forum 2014, an event sponsored jointly by the UN System Staff College and the City of Turin.
- On 7 July, the Deputy Secretary-General will travel to Bologna to deliver a lecture at the International Peace and Security Institute’s Annual Bologna Symposium on Conflict Prevention, Resolution and Reconciliation.
GHANA: SUMMIT TO ESTABLISH COMPREHENSIVE EBOLA RESPONSE PLAN FOR WEST AFRICA
- A Summit is currently taking place in Accra on the spread of Ebola in West Africa, with an active participation of the World Health Organization (WHO).
- The objectives are to agree on a comprehensive operational response plan at the regional level for controlling the outbreak.
- Participants include Ministers of Health and Directors of Disease prevention and control from 11 African countries, as well as organizations involved in fighting the outbreak, such as Médecins sans Frontières, Institut Pasteur and the European Union.
U.N. REVIEWS INCIDENT INVOLVING NATIONAL STAFF FROM SOUTH SUDAN
- Asked about reports of harassment against staff of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the Spokesman confirmed that four of the Mission’s national staff members seeking to travel to Entebbe on a UN Mission’s aircraft on Monday were denied permission to board the plane by National Security officers and had their passports and UN identification cards confiscated.
- The Spokesman noted that this was not the first such incident. He added that a similar incident occurred with two other UNMISS national staff members at the airport on Tuesday, 1 July.
- Mr. Dujarric said that the Mission sought clarification from the authorities as to why the passports were confiscated and why they were not allowed to travel to Entebbe. The staff members were travelling on UN official business for a training course at the UN regional support centre in Entebbe. He said that the Mission was not given any legal explanation or other reason for barring their official travel.
- The Spokesman added that the Mission asked for their documents to be returned and they were returned earlier today.
- Asked about a reinterpretation of the Japanese Constitution, the Spokesman said that he understood that this is a Cabinet decision that now goes to the Parliament. The United Nations is following the matter closely.
- Asked about a meeting between Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and Syrian official Buthaina Shabaaan, the Spokesman said the two had a private conversation on the margins of the Oslo Forum. He added that Mr. Feltman wishes to make clear that he did not ask anything of Syria regarding Lebanon.
- Asked about discussions among UN Member States on the UN peacekeeping budget, the Spokesman said that the United Nations is following the matter closely. He said that the Secretary-General has had contacts with relevant Member States today to encourage them to come together in a spirit of compromise. He added that UN peacekeeping requires a stable funding stream to do its work.
***The guests at the noon briefing were Operations Director of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs John Ging and UNICEF’s Emergency Director Ted Chaiban. They briefed on their recent mission to Somalia and Yemen.